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Everyone is new to fitness at some point.
No matter how jacked, lean, or athletic someone is right now, there was a day where they stepped foot in the gym for the first time and started taking their fitness seriously.
This is good to keep in mind because the gym can be a daunting place when you’re a newbie. What exercises should you do? How heavy should the weights be? How many sets should you do? How often should you exercise? How much should you eat to support your training and what foods? And when should you eat those foods?
The questions go on and on ad nauseum.
Many people turn to the internet for answers, and when you’re new and inexperienced, you’re especially prone to believing myths, focusing on the wrong things, and making mistakes. You know, things like super high-rep sets to bring out the cuts, skipping breakfast with no carbs after 8 pm, spending more time “researching” and reading magazine articles than training, jumping from routine to routine (“shiny object syndrome”), and “no pain no gain, baby!”
I’m no exception either. I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes in training and nutrition, which is why I wrote books for beginners once I got most things right and learned what really moves the needle. I wanted to help people avoid the mistakes I made and reach their goals as quickly and painlessly as possible.
The point is, while the fitness game might be relatively simple, it’s not exactly self-explanatory or intuitive. Having a proper blueprint of what really matters is more than half the battle, and this concept of being new to the gym is something I wanted to talk about with Adam Pfau.
Like myself, Adam is no stranger to making mistakes as a newbie. He started out as a skinny teenager pumped full of misinformation, and now he’s downright jacked, and spends his time educating his 1.3 million followers on what really matters in the gym and in the kitchen.
That is, Adam has become the educational resource that would have helped both him and myself tremendously when we first started training, so he knows all about navigating the fitness landscape as a newbie and avoiding potential pitfalls. This is also why we’re happy to have Adam on the team as a Legion Athlete.
In this episode Adam and I talk about . . .
- Selecting a training program
- How to find good sources of information
- Dealing with gym intimidation
- Avoiding program hopping
- The psychology of maintenance and finding what you enjoy
- And more . . .
So if you’re new to the fitness game and want some help getting on the right track, or if you have newbie friends who could use a nudge in the right direction, listen to this podcast and share it!
8:40 – How did you get into fitness?
16:04 – What has your experience been with programs?
24:56 – How do you find good sources of information?
42:00 – Did you ever experience gym intimidation? How did you overcome it?
46:47 – What are your thoughts on program hopping?
54:20 – How was the psychology of maintenance for you?
Mentioned on the Show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Mike: Hey, I’m Mike Matthews. This is Muscle for Life. Thank you for joining me. Now, something that I regularly remind myself of is the fact that everyone is new to fitness at some point. No matter how jacked somebody is, no matter how shredded somebody is, there was a day when they had no idea what. They are doing.
And I remember that myself. I have made many mistakes over the years and I didn’t know what exercises to do. I didn’t know how much weight I should be lifting. I didn’t know how many sets I should be doing. I didn’t know how often I should be training. I didn’t know how many calories I should be eating.
I didn’t know that calories even mattered and I didn’t know how much protein I thought that I you. At one point at least, I thought
I needed to eat upward of two
grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. Not fun. And I was very grateful to finally find good information and to finally get the type of results that I really wanted to get.
From my fitness, I was putting a lot of time into training. For example, I was working out five days per week, sometimes six days per week, at least one hour, sometimes upward of two hours per workout. And while I was in shape by anyone’s standards, I wasn’t as jacked as you might have expected for seven years of that.
And so I did eventually work it out and get into what I would say now is probably the best shape I can possibly get into as far as my body composition goes. And I have been trying to pay it forward. For nearly 10 years now. I published Bigger Leaders, stronger the first edition back in 2012. And since then I’ve written more books and articles and recorded podcasts and created a sports nutrition company, Legion, and so on.
And still today I spend a fair amount of my time creating stuff that serves the needs of people who
are new to all of this for a couple of reasons. One, of course, it’s good
business. It makes good business sense because the gen fit, the general fitness marketplace of
people just looking to get into good shape, maybe for the first time in their life is much larger than the market of freaky bodybuilders who carry around their pink jugs
of irradiated BCAs.
So that’s one reason, but the other reason,
It’s more personally rewarding to help someone go from very out of shape to very in shape and to hear
all the different ways that that improves their
body and their self-esteem and their relationships and their work and so on than it
is to hear how some
meet meathead like me, added another half of an inch to his 18 inch biceps over the last six months or 12 months of training.
I mean, I can personally relate to that. Of course, I would like to gain. Another half of an inch on my biceps. I mean, who wouldn’t? But as far as giving me a warm and fuzzy feeling as far as keeping me motivated to keep doing the things that I do, the former scenario does a much better job of that than the latter.
And so I continue to write books and articles and record podcasts that are more geared toward the greenhorns than the veterans. And this is one of those episodes. And in it I
talk with Adam fau, who is one of the more popular
male fitness influencers and really an educator. I don’t think influencer is a pejorative, but some people get the wrong idea when they hear influencer.
So Adam really is an educator, mean he influences many people. He has over a million followers on Instagram, but he built that following, sharing a lot of really, Training advice. It wasn’t just showing off his impressive physique. And Adam is also one of the newest athletes who is now working with Legion, who has partnered with Legion, which is really exciting because he’s exactly the kind of person I want to find.
He’s exactly the kind of person I want to recruit to work with Legion,
as you probably know, my mission for Legion is not to just sell a bunch of supplements. It’s to give people everything they need to achieve their fitness goals, to teach them how to eat, how to train, how to supplement, and in some ways how to live.
Because for example, you need to make sure that you are getting enough sleep. You need to make sure that you are managing your stress levels properly. If you are not maintaining good sleep hygiene, and
if you are very
stressed out, it doesn’t matter. Well, you do in the kitchen or in the gym, you are going to get stuck.
You are going to stop progressing. And if you try to just brute force through it, you are probably going to get hurt or start hurting. It may not be an acute injury, but it may be the more insidious type of injury, the repetitive stress injury that can develop particularly in our joints, and that can quickly run us into the sand.
And so in this interview with Adam, you are going to. Thoughts on selecting the right training program for you? Finding good sources of information, good people to listen to, dealing with gym intimidation, avoiding program hopping, and
then a little bit of
advice for the more experienced among us, how to stay motivated, what keeps him motivated to keep showing up and putting in the work when he knows that he’s not going to get any bigger or stronger, at least not significantly bigger or
He has his body for life, so to speak. So how
does he stay motivated to keep training knowing
that progress is essentially going to be nil from here on out. Also, if
you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world.
Bigger, leaner, stronger, and thinner. Leaner, stronger, as well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the
Shredded Chef. Now,
these books have
Mike: well over 1 million copies
and have helped
thousands of people build their best body ever, and you can find
them on all major online retailers like Audible, Amazon, iTunes, Cobo,
and Google Play, as well as in select
Barnes and Noble stores.
And I should also mention that you can get any of the audio audiobooks 100. Free when you sign up for an Audible account. And this is a great way to make those pockets of downtime, like commuting, meal prepping, and cleaning more interesting, entertaining, and productive.
And so if you want to take Audible up on this offer, and if you want to get one of my audiobooks for free, just go to
www.buy Legion, that’s b u y legion.com/audible and sign up for your account.
So again, if you appreciate my work and if you wanna see more of it, and if you wanna learn time proven and evidence-based strategies for losing fat, building muscle, and getting healthy, and strategies that work for anyone and everyone,
regardless of age or circumstances, please do consider picking up
one of my best selling books, bigger, leaner, stronger for Men, thinner, leaner, stronger for Women, and the Shredded
Chef for my favorite fitness friendly recipes.
Hey Adam. Welcome to my podcast, man. Hey, thanks
Adam: for having me. Yeah,
Mike: yeah. Thanks for doing this. I appreciate it.
Adam: Yeah, no problem. I love talking fitness whenever I can. ,
Mike: here we are to talk about getting jacked, how to get more jacked. The one quest that matters the most for at least some of us,
Adam: at least anyone
Mike: listening to this.
So what I thought that we could talk about in this. Interview is the theme of being new and some of the common pitfalls that people who are new to weightlifting, to resistance training, to strength training, some of the common pitfalls that they fall into and how to avoid them. And I thought that you would be a great guest for that because of your story and how you got into fitness and also your physique.
You were. A skinny dude. I was a skinny dude. When I got into lifting, I was, I guess I, I mean, I’m six two and so I got into this when I was 17, 18, so I’m, I was probably six two at that time. I think I was done growing by then, but whatever. I was relatively tall and like 155 pounds was not a big guy. I was not made to get big and strong.
And you’ve obviously come a long way in your own physique. Now you’re super fit and you’ve also though become a very popular educator. You’ve also gotten good at teaching other people how to get fit as well. So why don’t we start with a little bit of your story and how you got into fitness and how you went from somebody who struggled with it initially now to somebody who has, I mean, what a million followers now on your Instagram, and you’ve grown that not just by looking good, but also by sharing a lot of good information.
Adam: Yeah. So I’m similar to you. I, I started. . I remember I can, it’s funny, I started when I was 15. I’m 31 now, so it’s been over 15 years and it’s crazy that it’s been that long already. But I can still remember when I was 15, just like it was yesterday, I joined the gym pretty much. My mom wanted me to join because I stopped really playing sports and she wanted me to have some kind of physical activity.
But what you didn’t know is that secretly I really wanted to join a gym because I wasn’t uncomfortable with my physique. I was insecure. I didn’t have confidence. So I really wanted to join the gym for myself. And then when my mom kind of gave me the opening to join, I was like, yes, now I don’t have to admit that I want to join the gym.
I’m gonna just blame it on my mom that she made me okay mom. And it really all took off from there. So I started working at 15, had no idea what I was doing. And the a little that I know then, but that experience is really what motivated me years later to start Instagram. So let me. Get back to that. So five 15, this is 2005.
There’s no social media, there’s no Instagram. I think YouTube, I don’t even know if YouTube existed. If it did, it wasn’t what it was. Now. I don’t even know if it existed. So basically I’d be online every day trying to find out information, reading articles, and you would just see so many fitness myths. The bb.com forums?
Yeah, the the body bill.com forums. You would see so many conflicting myths out there, and I would just look at them and I would think, okay, this is what I have to do. Then I would read the next article and I’m like, oh, this is what I have to do. I was lost. I didn’t really know what I was doing, so I spent years being lost.
Eventually, I did find the body bill.com forums. This is where had some bad information, but a lot of good information. Also, after like three or four years, I finally started to like figure out what I was doing. I started to make progress and I eventually competed and I did well there. And go along a little longer.
I started to grow my Instagram. It was really just to, cuz I knew what I went through when I didn’t have social media, when I didn’t have people to give me information. So I knew that feeling. So I tried to help as many people as I could. So I tried to make pose just basically going over my experience, my journey, trying to bust some fitness myths.
And it started to grow, started to grow. It took off way more than I ever expected it to, and that’s really what happened. But the whole reason I started the Instagram in the first place and the whole reason I do it now. I wanna be that source of information that a beginner can come to who’s frustrated, confused.
They don’t really know exactly what they’re doing. I want my page to be a source to basically lead you on the right path. Clear up all the fitness myths that you think that you believe in the. Six small meals per day or can’t eat after 6:00 PM or, or it gets stored as fat. All those things that you hear that are conflicting, I basically wanted to be that one place that you can go that says, Nope, this is basically how it’s done.
I want you to be able to skip that initial frustration and confusion I went through when I was 15, 16, 17. I want you to skip that and get right to the point where you can start making progress.
Mike: And that, uh, resonates with me because that’s exactly why I got into the fitness. Space myself, I just didn’t start with social media.
I started with a book because I liked books and I thought there was an opportunity to write a book that was really meant to be the book I wished somebody would’ve just given me back when I was, you know, whatever. 17, getting into it. And that was bigger, leaner, stronger. And similar to your experience getting into Instagram early and doing it right early, it was good timing and at the time that that was a real gap in the marketplace.
And so that book filled a gap. And so similarly, there was an opportunity, obviously in the Instagram marketplace for you to say, Hey, Yes, look at me. I have the type of physique you probably want and I can teach you how to get there, and I can teach you how to enjoy the process. So, you know, I, it’s always nice to see people, for me to see people like you out there just sharing good information and accepting that.
It’s not the sexiest information. There’s not that much sizzle. It’s mostly steak, right? And not, that doesn’t resonate with everybody either. Like some people, when they just get into things, they are looking for the wild promises and just take these pills and you’re gonna lose all of this fat, or gain all of this muscle.
And some people have to go through that experience and know what does not work firsthand before they’re willing to listen to someone like you or me who is saying, you’re gonna have to work hard and results aren’t going to come as quickly as you probably wished, but you can get to where you want to be and you can develop a lifestyle that you enjoy and you can enjoy most of your workouts, you can enjoy most of your meals, and so on and so on.
So, yeah, I just wanna acknowledge again what you’re doing. I appreciate it. That’s one of the. Kind of key criteria that Legion has when we look for people to work with is exactly people like you. People who obviously walk the walk, but also who educate and who share good information, who want to do more than just quote unquote be an influencer, whatever that word really means, but who are more than just a physique.
And so let’s talk about the novice phase and feel free to share any personal anecdotes. I mean, I’ve shared many over the years because my experience was very similar to yours. Except I wasted more time than you probably. Seven years or so. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just got into the routine of working out and I liked working out and I hadn’t even really decided that I wanted to achieve any particular goals.
You know, it was just kind of a thing that I did. And then eventually I figured if I’m gonna put all that time into it, I might as well educate myself and get the most out of it. But let’s talk about Hmm. Programs, cuz that’s obviously training programs, uh, in particular, that’s a major point of confusion for many people who first get into this and.
Also, for many people who have been doing this for a while, there are so many different programs to choose from. It can be hard to choose one and be confident in your choice, and then also stick with it, right? And be confident that you just need to keep going. Or if you’re not seeing the results that you saw in the beginning, or that you want, then to understand why and understand that the program may be fine.
It may be something else. It may be your diet, it may be sleep. It may just be patience. It may be expectations. Your expectations may be wrong. What happens more often than assessing diet or assessing sleep hygiene or expectations is program hopping, right? Just try the next program because it promises to add 10 pounds to your lower body and you know, the next 30 days.
What was your experience? What has your experience been with? Programs, changing programs, finding what works, what doesn’t, and then learning how to assess the utility of programs and understanding the fundamentals of what makes training work. And then once you understand that, I think then you’re in a much better place to not only pick winning programs, but maybe make your own.
Adam: Yeah. So I, I think what’s funny is when you’re a complete beginner to the gym, motivation’s not really your issue. You’re willing to do almost anything to get results. That’s when motivation’s at an all-time high. The problem is you don’t know what you should be doing and you have a lack of trust and confidence in what you’re doing.
So if someone that you fully trust that told you exactly what to do, you probably have no problem doing it. If it was seven days a week, if it was twice a day, you’d probably do it as long as you were assured that what you were doing was correct. The problem is people, when they’re first starting out, they don’t have that confidence.
So even if they’re running the perfect program, they don’t know if it’s going to pay off three months from now. So they then come across another program that might be worse than the one that they’re already on, but they jump to that program thinking that they found something that might be better and they don’t give it a chance.
That all stems from just a lack of trust and confidence in the program they’re on, because again, they’re a beginner. They don’t really know what they’re doing. So the first step is really to find sources of information for people that, that you trust. Now, whether it’s you, whether it’s me, whether it’s someone else that you trust on YouTube, someone that that you trust, that is putting out content that’s helpful to other people that you believe in, because once you have that, you’ll listen to them and you’ll have trust and confidence in whatever program they give you is working.
So if it’s me, for example, what I would suggest, if you’re a beginner, Is, well, first off for anyone, when people ask like, how many days should I train more is not always better. More often than not, less is probably better. So I always tell people that they should pro You should probably train as few days as as you can to maximize your progress.
Now, it sounds like counterintuitive, but as few days as possible. But if you’re a beginner, you don’t need to train that many days. If you’re training six days as a beginner, you might burn yourself out. You might not. You might actually be able to adapt to it and make progress, but it’s going to get to a point where, all right, well, you kind of stall that on that six days.
And if you start out with six days, well, there’s not really much room to add from there. So that’s why I would say you should train as few days as possible to maximize your progress. And if you’re a beginner, you’ve never trained before, three days is really all you need. A three day full by program.
Really f use that time to focus on just getting good at. Exercises like people think working out. It’s just like any other sport. You’re not going to start playing basketball and be a, a free, uh, a perfect free throw shooter. Then I start playing baseball and be the best hitter. Like it takes time to develop mechanics on in other sports.
Same with lifting weights. So really use that time, just focus on your form, learn the compound exercises, get good at squatting, bench pressing bed lifting, and as you get good at them, your strength will increase. You’ll build muscle and at the end of three months, six months, whatever it is, in that full body routine, you’ll probably have put on a decent amount of muscle.
And then you could slowly graduate to maybe a four day upper lower split where you’re hitting every body part twice per week, but you’re doing more volume than you were on the, on the three day full body program. But that’s basically where. Do recommend beginners start. I know. I remember when I first started working out, I, it was all I thought about.
I looked forward to going to the gym after school every day. I would’ve worked out seven days per week. It was the only thing I really wanted to do. So I know how it feels in you’re beginning. It’s like, oh, three days per week. I really wanna do seven. , trust me in the beginning, just go with the three days because it’s gonna get to a point where you’ve been lifting 15 years and you wish you could work out three days per week and get the same results you did as a beginner.
So save the more complex routines where you’re lifting more weights, more days per week for when you need to, and take advantage of your beginner gains when you’re new because you’re going to get the same results doing a three day full buy routine than you would if you tried to do double that, most
Yeah, and just to comment on that, I did an interview with James Krieger some time ago where he talked about, it was basically a meta-analysis that he did on volume, or he looked at all of the research that we have on volume, and it was a neat episode. I recommend anybody listening who is interested in learning more about effective amounts of volume to go find it and listen to it.
But just relevant to what you said there, when you’re new, what the research shows, and this has been. Anecdotally kind of kicking around for a long time, but we have enough research now to say there’s good evidence for it in the literature as well, is that you really only need nine to 12 at most. Just call it nine or 10 hard sets.
So sets taken close to muscle failure per major muscle group per week to maximize muscle and strength gain in the beginning, at least for the first six months, maybe eight months, maybe even 12 months. Really depends on the person and some other factors. But to that point there. So if you’re doing three workouts per week, you could do three full body workouts.
And I agree, I think there are very good reasons to use a full body split, particularly if you’re new. I personally. Don’t prefer full body training, but that’s a function of my experience. Obviously, I’ve been lifting weights for a long time and I’m lifting heavy weights, and I would prefer not to do several big, heavy compound lifts in the same workout.
But that’s not to say that full body training isn’t appropriate for advanced weightlifters. But anyway, if you’re new, you could do that three full body workouts. But we also know that in an individual training session, you can profitably train a muscle group for probably nine or 10. heavy sets. Beyond that, you are in the realm of diminishing returns.
And if you were to do 15 hard sets for a major muscle group in a training session, that is not going to be as effective for gaining muscle as splitting that into maybe two training sessions where, I mean, you could split it more or less, half and half. It could be seven, eight, or if you wanna do a little bit more in one, it could be nine or 10, and then the remaining in the next session.
And so if you’re new and you’re doing three workouts per week, you have some additional flexibility to to get in the volume that you need. Ironically, even a body part split can work for somebody who’s new. Not that it’s necessarily the best way to go about it, but it can work because they just don’t need, like you’re saying, you just don’t need that much training stimulus to gain pretty much all of the muscle and strength that’s available to you in the beginning.
And counterintuitively, as you mentioned, when you’re. If you double that volume, you might just blow yourself up, but maybe not. Maybe you’re young and invincible. Like if you’re getting into this, fifteen’s gonna be a little bit young to like try to just redline yourself. But if you’re getting into this at 1920, I mean you are basically invincible, right?
You are basically like naturally on steroids and you probably have no limiting injuries and you have plenty of time and you’re sleeping well, and you have plenty of access to food and blah, blah. So if you double that, you’re not going to double the results in the beginning. You probably are not going to see much of a difference at all in terms of muscle gain, maybe strength gain, cuz you’re gonna practice the movements a bit more often.
So you might just get better at your squatting faster. But it’s just, uh, one of those counterintuitive things that is actually a little bit unique to weightlifting, right? Because if you’re getting into a sport and you practice three days a week, you’re gonna enjoy the newbie gains in that sport. You are certainly going to get better in at what feels like a fast rate.
And if you practice seven days a week, you’re gonna get better faster. Like you definitely will get better results. But weightlifting’s not like that.
Adam: Yeah, that’s true. That’s weird. I never really thought about it that way. And you know, it’s funny because people will, they’ll say all the time, they’ll say, well, The bro split or any routine, they ask if it quote unquote works.
And I always say there’s a difference between something working and something being optimal. Any routine, no matter how inefficient it is, if you’re training hard, you’re pushing yourself. Yes, you should be able to still gain muscles. No one’s ever telling you that if you’re on the wrong routine, no matter how hard you train, it’ll be completely useless.
No, it’s still going to work. I always compare it. I’m like, well, a horse and buggy can probably get me to the gym, but I’ll still stick with my car. They both work. One’s more efficient. So I always like to just make people understand, like even if you’re on the wrong routine, if you’re putting an effort, you’re training hard, you’re still going to make progress.
It’s not like you’re completely wasting your time. It’s just a matter of
Mike: efficiency. Totally. And you had mentioned finding good sources of information. What are your thoughts on vetting source of information? How did you find good sources of information? How did you determine, oh, this is a good source of information?
Adam: When I started that, basically it was impossible because there was just no way to know. I mean, these days, if you’re on Instagram, you see someone that has a lot of followers with a lot of feedback. I mean, The followers doesn’t always mean you know what you’re doing, but if you see people with relatively good followings on YouTube, putting out good content, I mean, that’s pretty much a, that’s, I guess that’s the first thing to look at.
I mean, a
Mike: counterpoint to that though is like Thomas DeLauer has a lot of
Adam: YouTube subscribers. . Yeah. So I mean obviously then this big ones that you don’t, who’s the V shred guy?
Mike: Whatever that . Yeah, I think he has a lot of subscribers. .
Adam: That’s a good point. But then just do a quick Google source and see the feedback of people, what people are saying about them.
And that would be probably the next step. So I mean, the followers is the, I think that’s a good first filter to, to see. And that also doesn’t mean the opposite. If someone doesn’t have any followers, that doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re doing. It’s just harder the judge, because you don’t know if people are getting results from them.
But if you’re finding a big social media influencer, you look at the comments they get on their posts, the comments they get on their video. Feedback from customers that they’ve dealt with. I mean, you, you get a good sense from the content people put out if they know what they’re talking about. I’ll always just watch someone speak because a lot of the time if you don’t hear them and you don’t see them, it’s hard to really know if you trust them or not.
But then sometimes you just, you watch someone’s video. And you can’t really explain it. You just kind of trust them. That’s a big factor for me. I just, you just get that trust feeling. And then sometimes you watch other people and you’re like, this guy, you know, I just, I don’t like his personality. I, I don’t really like what he’s saying.
I, I just don’t trust him and that’s okay. That’s why there’s a lot of people out there. Some people love me, some people hate me. I’m okay with that. I don’t, I don’t like everyone either. So. Everyone has that person that they or, or multiple people that they could trust. And I mean, you just kind of gotta see what’s out there and go with your gut feeling.
Mike: I think it also is helpful to, if we’re talking fitness, this is what I did personally, is I started in the evidence-based space, which has grown now. There are a lot more people sharing evidence-based information. It was not so much of a thing. And at that time, I remember I found Lyle McDonald. Early on and Me too
I mean, obviously you read his stuff, you’re like, oh, this is he. He’s a smart guy and he certainly appears to know things. But I also appreciated that he was well versed in the scientific literature and I appreciated that he wasn’t a slick marketer. And that’s always kind of a red flag for me. It doesn’t mean just because somebody’s very good at marketing themselves or their products or they have services or whatever.
It doesn’t mean they’re full of shit, of course. But whenever I come across that, it definitely puts me on my guard because oftentimes people are very good at marketing and, and then they know that they don’t have to be very good at really anything else. Like they don’t have to have very good information, very good products, very good services, because they’re very good at just selling things.
And many people are looking to cut many corners. In life, as many corners as they can sometimes. And when you are good at marketing, when you are good at selling, it’s very easy to cut the corner of quality. So I, I actually appreciated that Lyle was not, and still is not a good marketer. And I also though, was looking for, I guess a, a consensus of sorts, right?
So I came across Lyle, I came across, of course Reito. I came across Alan Aragon and his research review early on. I came across Martin Burk and a handful of other people who, again, were well-spoken, who were well-written, and who were at least talking about scientific research and talking about it in a way that I could understand it.
And I was looking for commonalities. I was looking for things that they were. Saying are correct or are useful. And so energy balance, for example, was a thing that I saw. Hmm. So they’re talking all the, all these people who themselves have either gotten into great shape or in great shape, or who have helped many other people get into great shape.
They’re all talking about this thing, energy balance. And other people over here, this fake Dr. Guy, he, for example, is saying that calories in, calories out is a defunct model and it’s bad science. Uh, okay. But, uh, he’s overweight and I don’t see the results that I want to. Get in any people that follow him or I don’t see success stories that impress me.
And he’s selling supplements, he’s selling books, he’s selling things that I sell. Uh, so it’s not that selling those things make you a bad person, but I understood that there could be other motives here. Whereas, again, with these other people who are much more about educating and sharing good information as opposed to just selling things, uh, because we has books to sell.
He doesn’t enough supplements, but he has things to sell. But he also has just put out a lot of good free information out there and is clearly about researching and writing. Those are the things he really likes to do, and he sells books. I think that’s about it. To just give ’em enough money to do, to do more research and more.
So again, I was looking to kind of triangulate between these different people who seemed to be more credible than some of these mainstream gurus and experts and figure out, okay, what do they all agree on? And that helped me a lot. That helped me find energy, balance macronutrients. I’m sure you remember when you first understood energy balance and macronutrient balance, so it was like a revelation, right?
It was. It was like six years in. Yeah. . It’s that easy to quote unquote, get a six pack. All I have to do is eat 2,400 calories a day and eat 180 grams of protein and just do whatever I want with my carbs and fat. Oh, and I can eat whatever I
Adam: want. Yeah. That’s the funny thing, Chris. The thing is reaching your fitness.
From a concept wise is really not a complex process at all. It’s actually very, very simple,
Mike: but you have to go through all kinds of complexity. You have to wade through the mere of bullshit to get to that understanding and you know, so I have appreciation for that process because like you, I went through it.
And so anyways, I just wanted to share that for people listening, that’s also just something that I’ve done, not just with fitness, but also in other disciplines, other things that I’ve wanted to learn, I’ve avoid. , the people with the flashy marketing and who are primarily dedicating their time and their money to selling things.
And I’ve looked for people who sure they can have things to sell, but who clearly put a lot of time into educating people. And I have always looked for people who appeal to science and not, again, that can be done in a misleading way. Uh, it does not mean that they know what they’re talking about. But it’s a good sign.
It’s a green flag. And then how they’re appealing to it matters to me. So if they just offhandedly refer to research here and there, that’s not very convincing. But if they go into details about research, and if they show that they understand some of the nuances of research, and if they, for example, show they understand the concept of the weight of evidence and that science doesn’t prove quote unquote anything, or science is never quote unquote true, it’s a process of trying to arrive at the truth and arrive at hypotheses that are truer than the ones that we had previously.
So those practices have helped me kind of winnow out the less useful information. It can be very frustrating. Again, particularly in fitness, particularly with the rise of social media. There are a lot of people out there like you sharing good information, but there are a lot of people out there sharing bad information and a lot of them look really good.
And so that is misleading. Think about it, if you were getting into, again, take a sport, you wanted to learn tennis, and you find someone on Instagram who’s really good at tennis, and you’re like, well, cool, this person is clearly much better than I am. They certainly know things. They can teach me things.
And then what if. , everything that they teach you or most of the things they teach you don’t actually work. And in fitness, drug use is an X factor that you don’t have in sports. Like you can’t just take steroids and then be great at, at tennis, you can take steroids and not be very good at fitness and look really good.
So it can be tough when you just get into
Adam: it. Yeah, I guess it all really stems back to what you were saying is you really, before we really trust anyone, you kind of need to figure out what they’re most motivated by, because. . The thing is, like I was saying, fitness is actually really simple, but people that wanna sell their programs, it doesn’t sound good to be like, oh, it’s actually very, very simple.
So instead they try to confuse you, make you seem that, make it seem like they have the secret so that you depend on them because they know the answers that no one else seems to know. Yes.
Mike: That’s a good point. That’s a good point that should be highlighted actually, is the guru syndrome, right? If somebody is saying that they’re ahead of the science or that they made some breakthrough discovery, they have the one weird trick or the the one.
Magic one true diet or the one true training program. Big red flags. This, there’s no secrets there, especially there. It’s just not true. Like, you know, maybe if people like Brad Schoenfeld and others through a lot of hard work, maybe they will discover the next creatine or something like that. Or maybe they will discover the next training variable that should be added to kind of like the cannon of volume and frequency and intensity.
But if I had to put money on it, I would say that that’s probably not gonna happen anytime soon. I mean, I wouldn’t bet that 30 years from now people are gonna be training more or less, exactly the same as they are now, and that optimal training is not going to evolve. But I would be a little bit surprised if it looks completely different.
To what we’re doing now. You
Adam: know, I think the best example is I’ll get this all the time. If I say anything or give any piece of advice that’s different than what Arnold did 50 years ago, people will be like, but Arnold did this. That’s the exact point that we’re trying to make. Arnold look great. He has a leg genetic.
He was also on drugs. Anything he did not that he did everything wrong. I’m not gonna say that at all. He did play anything right, but anything he did would’ve worked. So now to ignore everything that has transpired in the world of science since Arnold was in his prime and ignore it and just write it off as well.
Arnold didn’t do that. You’re missing the point. And that’s pretty much what a lot of people now will do. They’ll just look at a physique and be like, oh well this person knows what they’re doing cuz they look like this and they might know what they’re doing. They might not even be telling you what they’re actually doing, but that’s why it’s important to follow.
People that are more trusting. But a part of the problem is I think a lot of the people who are more science-based, they put so much of their focus. Like Lyle McDonald, you were saying, he’s not salesy at all. He’s, they’re more similar to that, where they put so much of their focus on the stuff that you hope that they’re putting their focus on, but they don’t put any focus on like their own brand or their own marketing or anything like that.
So they’re actually doing themselves a disservice and everyone
Mike: else at The Deserve, and they’re doing other people a disservice. You know, I’ve actually had this conversation with, not Lyle, but with other people who have great information and who are not good at marketing, and I’ve tried to explain to them, and, and they also, they have a, an aversion, almost like an allergy to marketing or, or selling as if it’s kind of like this sorted activity that only fakers really.
Not, I wouldn’t say engage in, but find engaging that like only fraudsters really are drawn to marketing as an activity and want to get good at it and want to dedicate time to it. Or a lot of artists are like that. They just wanna do their art and they find marketing and selling very distasteful.
Adam: They kind of have this attitude, well, they’re like, well, well people just come to me because I have the good information.
Mike: Again, I’ve tried to explain to some of these people like, no, it’s incumbent on you to figure out how to communicate this information in a way that people are going to appreciate and how to meet people where they are at, and then, Take them on this journey where eventually you can talk maybe to them about the things that you just want to talk to them about, but you have to bridge the chasm for them.
You can’t expect them to try to jump 150 feet across the abyss, but it hasn’t been successful with quite a few people I’ve tried to explain that to, that you can’t blame other people for not recognizing your brilliance and unsubscribing from all of the, the fake and all of the bad information and unfollowing all of the liars and the cheaters and just exclusively paying attention to you and your buddies.
You have to get better at marketing. You have to learn how to play that game, ideally better than the liars, but at least you have to be about as good as them. You’re just not gonna gain much sway in the market. And again, I guess some people they get it, but they just really don’t like marketing. So they don’t really make the effort to try to upgrade.
Many though, they see what I’m saying, but it just doesn’t really strike any sort of emotional chord with them. And so they don’t change anything. And like you said, they’re doing themselves a disservice and they’re doing other people a disservice.
Adam: It stems from an attitude of, I, I put in all this time and research, I shouldn’t have to, to do this to get my information out there.
And it’s like you could justify it however you want, but people aren’t seeing your information and that’s not good for you. And it’s not good for the people who aren’t sending information. and I have plenty, I think a lot of posts. . I don’t love the formats of the post. They’re look, they’ll look a little clickbait.
But that’s what you have to do is if you don’t do it, no one’s gonna see the post. Just the way the algorithms work on social media. Your content’s not going to be seen. So I mean, when people complain about clickbait on YouTube videos, Instagram, in my opinion, as long as you’re actually providing good information, once you bait that person into seeing your content, you’re not doing anyone at the service because they wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.
And you’re probably doing them a favor if you’re actually providing good content. And there’s plenty. People like I, I think Lane Norton’s a good one. He provides great information, but he just never seemed to, uh, I guess figure out the social media side of things. He doesn’t post stuff that’s visually engaging and all those information is great.
It’s just not getting seen by enough people because he does, he doesn’t post it in a way that grabs your attention.
Mike: I think that is a, a good example, and I mean, my social media is an example I’m aware of. Though, I guess I would say, and it’s not because I couldn’t do it differently, it’s really a, actually just a matter of bandwidth.
I don’t want to put the time, I don’t mind the effort. It’s really the time into it right now that it would require to do it better. And my workaround to that is, is really gonna be, we have a, a number of positions we’re hiring for. This is not the highest priority, but we’ll get to it. It’s gonna be hiring somebody who understands how to make social media work and how to produce, for example.
Yes. Visually appealing. That is a very important part of this. And then that would take a lot of the work, uh, off of my plate, of course, had stuff to be involved to some degree, but that’s my plan because. I would say that to some degree I’m doing people a disservice by not being more active on social media and not doing it better.
But my excuse for that is the time that would be going into that is going into my next book, for example. And I think in the scheme of things, it’s more valuable for me to always be working on the next book. And certainly as far as my, my businesses are concerned, it has more strategic value. And I guess there’s also my own personal bias because I like writing books.
I don’t particularly like social media, so there’s a little bit of that too. But yes, I mean, I, I totally agree with your take on Lane is an example of that. But there are many people out there who do, who have great information, who I think do it a lot worse than Lane.
If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world. Bigger, leaner, stronger, and thinner.
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Let’s hard transition to another topic that I hear about quite a bit, especially with women, but also with men and always, almost always with people who are, they’re almost always new. The people who run in this and that is gym intimidation. Is that something that you experienced early on or even later?
And how did you deal with it? And I’m sure again, over the years you’ve heard from many people who are intimidated by going to the gym, and what are some tips that you have for people who maybe are experiencing that right
Adam: now? Yeah, I definitely dealt with that. So I mean, I think it actually, a lot of that actually it’s first ties back to what we talked about in the beginning about, uh, having a program that you trust.
Because I think if. The first step is having a plan. Once you walk into the gym with a plan, you’ll have a certain sense of confidence that you wouldn’t have if you were just going you with no plan and wandering around. So first step is definitely have a plan. Know that you’re gonna go in, I’m doing three sets of bench press.
I’m doing three sets of lap. Pull down, like know what you’re doing because you’ll feel a lot more confident about yourself. When you have a plan, rather than just walking in and wandering around and hopping from machine to machine, not really know what you’re doing. So that’s definitely the, the most important thing.
Mike: Or like trying to watch what other people are doing and
Adam: yeah, that’s the, that’s the worst thing you could be doing. Trying to pick out
Mike: like the biggest and strongest people. Oh, okay, I’ll do that. .
Adam: That’s what you don’t wanna be doing. But even if you have a plan, I could still see you being intimidated. I think joining with a partner or a friend, that’s probably the best thing you could do.
That’s what I did. The problem is finding a, the Lion Gym partner, long term is probably the most difficult thing you could do in any aspect of life. , I don’t think you’re ever willing to find, I don’t know, maybe a marital partner or a business partner define a gym partner that you could find someone for a little while, but you’ll never find someone that has the same goals as you, same motivation as you, same schedule as you.
It’s very, very difficult to find. But at least in the beginning, if you could find someone that has similar goals and schedule that they can go to the gym with. I think that makes all the difference in the world. That’ll probably get rid of all your gym intimidation issues. Because I remember when I would go with a friend, but then I would have the issues where they wouldn’t go one day and I’d be on my own.
And those days where I’d be on my own compared to when I was with a friend, I definitely felt more intimidated. If for some reason you can’t go with a friend at all, have a plan, have some music on, wear a baggy hoodie so no one can even see what you look like. Because a lot of the gym intimidation coming down to, you think you’re being stared at that people are judging your physique, which no one really is.
But I understand why people feel that way probably at the gym in the first place to improve your physique. So you’re probably a little insecure about it. So you wearing a baggy clothes so people can’t really see what you look like. I guess that could help, uh, like I said, music and just have a plan and get in a zone.
And I mean, at the end of the day, just realize that no one’s actually judging you. The people there that are more advanced like me and. . I’m not looking at a beginner and judging them at all. I, I probably don’t. I just wanna get through my workout. I don’t even know what you’re there. If someone is checking you out, they’re probably in the exact same position as you and they’re probably thinking, oh, he’s a beginner like I am, or she’s a beginner like I am.
What kind of routine are they doing? Maybe they know what I’m they’re doing and I don’t, maybe I’ll just copy them. So no one’s looking at you to, to make fun of you. They’re only looking at you because they just isn’t secure themselves and they’re probably actually looking to see what you’re doing to get some
You know? I’ll just second that, that most of my workouts, I mean, I, I go at a time. When there aren’t many people in the gym, which is probably another tip actually. Yeah, that’s actually
Adam: good. That’s good if you, if you can, yeah. Yeah. If
Mike: it’s less crowded right, then obviously there are gonna be fewer people to intimidate you.
But in times in the past when I was going, at times when there were more people, either, I wasn’t really, I wasn’t paying attention to what anybody else was doing or that there even were other people in the gym. I wouldn’t say that I was completely tunneled into like my training, so to speak, but I certainly was not like sizing people up or assessing physiques, or if I see people who are new, I think it’s great.
Like I’m happy to see people who are new because they’re just getting into it, and I remember what that is like, and hopefully they have a decent program to follow because they’re gonna get good results. And I like. See people do well with their fitness, and so when there’s somebody like me in a gym looking at maybe a, a listener, maybe it’s you and you’re new, chances are that they feel the same way.
I mean, I know that as many, that that’s how many intermediate or weightlifters feel is they think it’s great. They’re. Happy to see another person join the, the fraternity. Oh, definitely.
Adam: People come up to me all the time like, oh, I follow you on Instagram. Your, your post helped me a lot. I’m like, I feel like I accomplished exactly what I’m trying to accomplish.
Mike: Exactly. Totally. Let’s talk about, this is the last question. I wanted to get your thoughts on program hopping, and you could talk to novices here, you could talk to more experienced weightlifters. It’s obviously something that many people do, and it’s something that can be very unproductive. I mean, I have done a lot of it in the past.
I’m sure you have as well. Yeah,
Adam: so I mean, it all, it all stem back to the same thing of having, of lacking confidence of the plan that you’re on. So the only reason you wanna hop from a different plan, it’s probably not because you’re lacking enjoyment on it. I mean, if you were seeing progress, you’d probably stick with any program.
It wouldn’t matter. How much you, you hated it. So it comes back to basically lack of confidence in the plan you’re on. So I guess you really just, once you find that source of information that you, you trust, you just really need to, to trust that it’s going to work. So what I always tell people, you don’t make progress by constantly changing your program and constantly changing your exercise is you make progress.
Like finding effective and efficient exercises and getting better at them over time. So people will say, oh, should I shock the muscle by switching this ad? I’m like, you’re not going to find an exercise that’s better than deadlift. So to say, oh, well I’ve been deadlifting for for two months. I should probably swap that out for, uh, hyperextensions instead.
Like, in no world they’re hyperextensions ever going to be a better exercise. And deadlifts, assuming you could do them safely, you don’t make progress by constantly changing what you’re doing. You make progress by getting better at an efficient exercise and an efficient routine over time through progressive overload doing more reps or more weight over time.
So I think the only way to
Mike: shock a muscle is to literally shot to electrocute it. I think that’s .
Adam: Exactly. So I mean, I would tell people how long should you stick with a routine. I would not stick with a routine any. Than six months, unless you’re following a really bad routine and you find out that, oh, I’ve been following like, uh, single body parts with, that’s probably not the most efficient routine for my goals at this point.
If, if something like that comes along, then maybe you should hop to a different routine. But once you find that routine that you’re confident is the right routine for you, you can’t just start making snap decisions like after two months and say, oh, I’m not getting the results I want. Because the truth is your uh, expectations are probably just way too high.
And even if you’re on the most efficient routine possible, your results aren’t going to be as astronomical as you were probably hoping. So stick with it for six months. As long as you’re getting stronger. If you’re doing more weight over time, you’re making progress. That’s all there is to it. Swapping routines isn’t the way to make progress.
It’s the way to stop it.
Mike: Yeah, I totally agree. There is something to be said, like you said, for changing a routine. If you realize that it is fundamentally flawed, that for your goals, this is really not even close to optimal in terms of like how to get there, yes, then you should change. But if you are changing your routine every several months, Then you are doing yourself a disservice.
Like you are not going to progress that way because when you change your routine, that is going to entail different exercises. It’s going to entail different loads, probably different frequencies. Too many things change, and it’s gonna be very hard too. As you said, just get better at the key exercises, the most effective exercises, and that is really what drives progress.
And just to give people listening, a little bit of context, I’m not sure, Adam, how your training is. Right now, but I’m following a program that’s in my book for intermediate and advanced weightlifters. It’s called Beyond Bigger, leaner, stronger. And the primary focus of that program is to increase whole body strength.
It’s to increase one rm, which is an estimated one RM that you work out based on some AMRAP work that you do every few months, as opposed to like true one RM tests, which I don’t think are necessary or even recommended for lifestyle bodybuilders, so to speak. But the focus of the program is to just keep your one RMS going up on the big lifts.
On a big squad, it could be a front squat, a back squat on a deadlift. It could be a conventional, it could be a sumo, it could be a trap on a bench press barbell. It could be flat, it could be incline depending on, you know, which macro cycle you’re in. And then some sort of overhead press, which could be a push press.
It could just be a strict military press. It could be a seated, it could be a, a seated dumbbell. Again, depending on where you’re at in like the scheme of things. And. That is really kind of like the crux of the program. And then we do some body building kind of stuff, some extra accessory work to just get enough volume in, especially on some of the smaller muscle groups.
So it takes a lot of grinding to get there. Obviously I don’t have much muscle left that I could possibly gain, like period. Like genetically I’m, I’m probably close to tapped out. And so in a four month macro cycle, just to give some context to progress and the idea that any progress is progress, especially when you’re no longer new, if you have three to maybe five plus.
Good years of weightlifting already behind you, then this is gonna be applicable to you in a four month macro cycle. I can speak to the last couple macro cycles that I’ve gone through that have been productive. Good training, no injuries, pretty good sleep. I mean, I have two kids. I don’t sleep the way I used to, but pretty good sleep and really watching my calories and macros and eating a lot of nutritious food, blah, blah, blah.
I will start with, let’s say I’m just making up some numbers. Let’s say on the bench my four rep max is like 2 55 or something like that. That’s the starting of a macro cycle. Four months of consistent training. And let’s say that four M in the beginning is with one rep in reserve. I have one good rep left.
Uh, and if I’ve done well on that macro cycle, then I may have. Three, maybe four, probably not five, probably like three or four reps in reserve now. And so my one RM has gone up a little bit. Maybe, uh, I don’t know off the top of my head what that math is, but maybe I’ve gained five to 10 pounds, probably no more than that on my one RM on that exercise in four months and four months of working pretty hard, you know, spending five to six hours a week banging weights and that to.
Is great. Like that is motivating, that is progress. And that’s just because I have the right expectations. So I thought that might just be helpful to share because I could see how many people, they would do one macro cycle and they would experience that, and if they didn’t have the right expectations, that could immediately lead to program hopping.
Right? Like this program sucks.
Adam: Exactly. You, you could have made great progress, but your expectations were wrong. So you thought you made bad progress when you didn’t. So it is important to hear what you just said, um, because I’m sure people are listening like, oh wow, that’s it. Like . And how
Mike: is that for you now?
I’m curious. Like it’s probably something similar.
Adam: Well, I got to a point personally where I’m just trying to maintain because I feel like I’m at a good point. I’ve always cared a little bit about strength, though I was really, I always did it more for the bodybuilding aesthetic purposes. So strength was never a, a main concern.
So I mean, I’m honestly at a point with my Zeke, I’m happy where I am. I’m not too big. I’m lean, but I’m not contest lean. I’m eating a good amount of food where I don’t need to. Increase my calories. I don’t need to decrease my calories. I’m just, I’m pretty much happy where I am, so I’ve just been trying to maintain, it’s a different feeling compared to the past when I was trying to max out all the progress I could make, and now I’m basically just saying I’m pretty good where I am.
And what is
Mike: that maintenance? How is the psychology for you? Because I’ve done that for extended periods of time and because. I’ve gotten into the routine of working out so thoroughly. It’s, I mean, it’s so entrenched at this point. I don’t see how I would ever stop or why I would ever stop, but now that I have also tried to like, I understand I’m not gonna gain any more muscle to speak of.
There’s gonna be no real change in my physique from now. I give my body to the worms and toads. This is it. This is what I’ve got. And so I, I, for a long time I would get into the gym and do workouts. And there’s some flexibility that maybe was, was nice in that if I was feeling good, I could push myself.
If I was feeling not so good, I didn’t have to train so hard and worry about missing out on gains. But I will say that working on a program that has allowed me to focus on some element of progress, and like you, I never cared that much about strength. And I’m also not built to be strong. I mean, I started out very skinny.
I don’t even have the anatomy for it. I have long femurs, I have long arms, which kind of balance out on the deadlift. So I’ve been an okay dead lifter, but pressing is a bear, squatting is a bear. I’ve maybe come close, I’d have to look back in my logs. I’ve come close to the 3, 4, 5 benchmark, right? One rep max three on the bench.
Four on the squat and five on the deadlift. I’ve probably made it there on the bench and the squat not on the deadlift. I think I’ve only gotten to the mid fours. So anyway, switching over to a more structured program, the type of program that I followed. Earlier on when there was still quite a bit of muscle and strength to gain, I’ve found that to be more enjoyable, even for the purpose of maintenance.
Like it really is just maintenance. Even though, again, over the course of a macro cycle, I may gain five or 10 pounds just on the bar. I may be able to add five or 10 pounds on the bar because I’m working back up to those previous PR numbers. And then of course, I mean, there is a point where I’m not gonna be able to, maybe I’ll be able to, to add five or 10 pounds to a big lift over the course of a year, which is even less exciting, I guess you could say.
But I guess beggars can’t be choosers, right? And so I’ve just found that. Maintenance with at least some sort of element of progress has been more enjoyable. How has your experience been? I completely
Adam: agree with you. That’s the part that I struggle with the most. So like when I fir, I’ve been maintaining that for like five years.
When I first started the goal of maintaining, I did run, I was running power lifting programs and strength programs like 5 31 and variations of that. And I completely agree that it’s, even though physique wise I was trying to maintain, I hit some of the best lifts, at least body weight wise that I’ve ever hit.
It was, I hit like a three 15 or three 30 bench. I deadlifted in the mid five hundreds, I squatted four 10 or whatever and I was at the point I only weighed like 168 pounds. Like I was very lean. But then I, with even with the strength, I got to a point where I’m like, I felt like I was going to get hurt.
Like why am I deadlifting 500 pounds to maintain my physi fatigue? I just, I started getting to a point like mentally where I’m like, I just feel like I’m going to get hurt at some point, and my goal kind of shifted from. I still wanna maintain my physique, but I also wanna be able to be the, doing this for as long as I possibly can.
And I kind of shifted away from the strength to just purely maintenance. But now, like you said, I struggle the most with motivation. If it’s, it’s very fun to go to the gym when you have some kind of goal in mind. It’s not as fun when you’re going in basically saying, oh, hope I stay exactly the same as I am right now.
Mike: like, it becomes almost like exercise as opposed to training. You know, like, oh I, you know, I’m gonna burn some calories and I’m gonna pump my muscles up. Cool. .
Adam: Exactly. So I mean, I do wanna think of other goals to, to focus on, but at the same time, I don’t really want, I could, people say, oh well you should bulk, but it’s like to bulk, why to put on an extra one to two pounds of muscle, I’ll have to get my calories higher.
Then eventually I have to cut and get my calories lower. And when I’m at a good spot right now in terms of balance, I just don’t really wanna mess with that. So there’s no perfect situation. If you told me when I first started working out, eventually you’re going to get to a point where you’re going to have the Zeke that you want.
And you’re actually going to be bored at the gym. I would’ve said, sign me up. And now I’m at that point and I’m, I’m almost jealous of beginners who are just starting out, who have that extra sense of motivation, who everything’s still in front of them. So whichever stage you are on the journey, you’re always going to be wishing you were in another part of the journey.
So that’s why you gotta enjoy the entire process. You can’t look too
Mike: far ahead. Yeah. And you also, I mean, you can also look. It’s a bit of a, a mixed blessing in that there are the downsides that you just shared, which, I mean, that’s true of so many different goals that you can pursue. Maybe all of them. It, it almost kind of speaks to like a basic element of the human condition, right?
Is we have this lofty goal and we work so hard to get there, and then it’s either not as satisfying as we thought it was gonna be, or we find out that it’s actually not what we thought it was going to be like. Maybe we don’t even want it anymore, or we find out that it’s maybe what we wanted, but it’s not what we needed.
Some people may be surprised if they follow you on Instagram, for example, and they look at your physique. They may be surprised. To hear you say that you quote unquote struggle with motivation and that your training is quote unquote boring. And it sounds like, and I can relate to this, it sounds like it, it’s kind of like a chore.
Like you just go into the gym and you do your chores. Right,
Adam: exactly. That’s why my current routine, it’s actually a five day full body routine. And I tell people, I’m like, don’t copy me. The only reason I’m doing it is because it was so different than what I was doing for the last several years that I just wanted to try it out.
So that, that’s basically so that when I choose a routine at this point for myself, my number one priority is enjoyment. I wanna enjoy it. I know I’m. Probably able to maintain on any routine that I, I push
Mike: myself forward. Yeah, I mean, you could probably do a body weight routine and maintain at least a lot of your muscle at this point.
Adam: exactly. So I choose it based on enjoyment at this point. So I guess the, if you’re just starting out, that’s what you have to look forward to. 15 years.
Mike: And that’s one of the luxuries though, that is one of the positive elements of getting to where you’ve gotten to, right, is now, I mean, of course anybody can do that, but as you’ve said in this interview, in the beginning, you’re really driven by results and you’re looking for the most efficient and effective and optimal way to get those results.
And what you. Enjoy the most. May not be that. And so you’re willing to forego your at least a little bit of the pleasure to get the results you want, but now that you’re at a point where you’ve gotten the results that you want, you can quote unquote, afford to just prioritize pleasure now, and I’ve.
Recommended that to many people. I’ve heard from many people over the years who have basically expressed exactly what you just expressed, and that’s one of the things I’ve recommended is I’ve asked them, are there other types of workout routines that you’re actually interested in that seem like fun or maybe even other types of exercise?
Uh, many women, for example, I’ve spoken to over the years, have dialed back on their strength training to do other stuff, to do like fitness classes or just get into other physically demanding activities. Uh, I can think of some women who got into dancing, so they kept. Up some weightlifting just to kind of maintain their physique and maintain their strength.
But they’re like, oh, well I guess if I don’t have to be in the gym now five or six hours a week, if I can quote unquote get away with two or three hours of strength training and then put that time into something else. Oh, I’ve always wanted to ride horses, which is actually a pretty physically demanding activity.
I’ll give some time to that. Or I’ve always wanted to dance or do whatever. I’ll give some time to that. So if, if somebody listening is maybe like you and me, Adam, or we just like working out, I mean, we like going to the gym. Sure, I like doing other things, but I do genuinely still just enjoy that time.
Then don’t feel like you are maybe cheating on your routine, especially if you had an approach. Was so effective and got you to where you wanted to be. It’s very easy to continue doing that, even if it is boring, but there’s no reason why, especially if you’re at that point of like, okay, I’m pretty happy.
I just kind of wanna look the same way and feel good and not get hurt and be able to do this for the long haul. There’s no reason why you can’t now do a bit of program hopping, ironically. Right,
Adam: exactly. It’s a, it’s a, the cycle.
Mike: Oh, it’s so deep. Weightlifting.
Adam: Who knew? Yeah, but I mean, but you need to enjoy it. What you were saying. At any stage, even if you’re Yes, yes. You should always prioritize enjoyment over anything. Like there was always those routines, like German volume training where it’s like 10 seconds. Yeah. I always hated, yeah.
And people ask me what I think about, and my response is always do it
Mike: once. Do
Adam: it once and see what you think. I’d rather just not work out at all if I was, than be on that routine. Like even if I knew that routine was the best to maximize my. I still won’t wanna do it because I wouldn’t enjoy it. So no matter what stage you’re at, you should choose enjoyment because if you enjoy it, that’s the best.
I couldn’t get to where I am now. Like I, I know I sound, maybe I sound, I don’t need to call bad, say, oh, I’m a little bored by my workouts. But I couldn’t have gotten to where I am now. If I didn’t enjoy the process the entire time, or at least the majority of the time or else I would’ve quit. So you need to enjoy what you’re doing.
Otherwise it’s just not gonna be sustainable. Not just fitness,
Mike: anything. Yeah, and that is a good point that I totally agree with. I suppose that there could be a kind of a caveat for somebody who may be really doesn’t enjoy barbell squatting, for example, or barbell deadlifting. Not that you have to squatter, deadlift or bench press or overhead press.
Maybe they really don’t enjoy free weight at all. And to that person, I would say, sure, we could work around your preferences and we could make a program that is going to move the needle, but if we could. Maybe find some way for you to enjoy these exercises enough to just be able to do them consistently.
Let’s do that because it’s gonna make such a big difference. You know what I mean? Yeah,
Adam: that’s right. I’m the opposite right now. So I, I go to a gym that has like a lot of really cool machines and I just got to a point. Where I just got so sick of barbell squatting. I was doing them like two times a week for like 10 years.
I just got to a point where I’m like, I’m just so sick of them, and my gym has some of these really cool machines. So I’ve been using them for a while now, and I just find them more enjoyable. But then people will see me, they’re like, oh, why don’t you squat? And it’s like, only you new. How many reps of squat having them?
I’ve done my fair share of squats. It just comes to enjoyment. At this point. You’ve paid your due.
Mike: Yeah, exactly. You’ve earned the right to train what looks like
Adam: an asshole. . Exactly. So I mean, I got to, but then I get to a point where I use certain machines and I get bored of those, and then I was, I would wanna go back to barbell squats.
So, I mean, prioritize enjoyment, that’s really the most important thing. This, if you’re enjoying it, you’ll stick with it longer and you’ll make progress just feeds into
Mike: itself. Before we wrap up, I just wanna follow up on that. I’m curious, what are some of these machines that you’re using or you have been using that you’re liking?
Adam: I, my gym has a hit shark belt squat. Yeah. I love the belt squat. Yeah. I’ve never really seen any gyms have it, so I, I like it just, it’s more fun, I guess, but I, I like not just not, you don’t have to put the ball on your back. You could still load heavy weight and it’s just not supported by your back.
Mike: listening, it’s great. If you have back issues, like if back squatting in particular, for example, tends to aggravate your back. The belt squat is a great alternative.
Adam: Too bad. Just most gyms don’t have it. That’s the problem. We have some pendulum squat machine. I mean, I also, with machines in general, people like to say, is this, Better than squats.
Like no exercise, quote, unquote better than another one. I mean, some people feel certain machines very well, some people hate certain machines. They’re all built differently, so you’re not going to feel certain machines. This is a machine that I might love, that you might hate. So I mean, if you feel so, I tell you, if you feel a certain machine just working, use that machine.
Don’t feel like it’s less hardcore because machine and don’t feel like you have to use it because I said I like it. I mean, we’re all built differently. Certain machines are, I find are great. Certain machines I find terrible and awkward. So same with freeways. Some people are, can squat very easily. Some people are just, they’re just not comfortable with it.
So in that no exercise is required, I do think certain ones are better than others. But the most important thing is just find stuff that you feel working for you and then get better at them over time.
Mike: Agreed. Are there any upper body machines that you’re liking right now? Yeah, I mean,
Adam: my gym has some, uh, really cool rowing machines, arsenal.
Just for people listening, I go to Beth Francis Powerhouse Gym in New York could look it up. It’s just, it’s, it’s well known as having ton of options. So there’s certain growing machines that I just, I just feel them more than dumbbells. I feel them more than anything, and that they’re. There’s this one inclined chest machine that once I found this machine I give a credit for basically developing my upper chest.
Like I’ve never felt a upper chest exercise as well as this machine. So there’s just certain machines that like you’ll feel great and go with them, and then there’s certain machines that they just. That just not built for you, just don’t do them again. Yeah. If
Mike: you don’t, for example, feel the target muscle group working, if you don’t get any muscle soreness after the workout, uh, in the target muscle group, if you don’t get much of a pump, if you don’t notice a reduction in performance from set to set in the target muscle group, I think those are all just simple criteria you can use to judge the effectiveness of any individual exercise.
Adam: Yeah. I have a incline machine at my gym that I love and there’s three other ones right next to it that I can’t stand that I don’t feel anything when I do it. I just, I don’t feel my chest working at all, so I don’t use them, but I see other people, they’re always using them. So I mean, you never know what machine’s going to work
Mike: for you.
Agreed. Well, um, hey man, this was very informative. It was a great conversation. Again, thanks for taking the time to have it with me and to share it with the listeners. And why don’t we wrap up with where people can find you and your work, and if there’s anything in particular you want them to know about.
If you have anything kind of new and exciting coming up,
Adam: let ’em know. Yeah. So the best place to follow me is. On Instagram at afo, it’s A P F A U. People are always like, what’s a. My last name is Fow. My first name is Adam. The initials a F. You can just check me out there. If you have any questions, you could always send me a dm.
I’m one of the, I’m probably the only person with over a million followers that actually reads and answers all my dms. Or you can email me and I’ll be happy to help you out any way I can.
Mike: That’s one of those little simple, powerful marketing techniques by the way. That is, it’s not just commendable because people would say like, oh, you don’t quote unquote have to do that, but it’s also smart.
That’s something that I have, for example. I mean, of course I’m gonna say it’s smart cause I’ve also been doing it, but there’s a good rationale. So I’ve been answering before social media is email and it’s still email. I still actually prefer email because it’s just more efficient than I agree. Dms I have, I have fat fingers.
Sometimes I actually get kind of enraged where I’m trying to answer somebody on, you know, if it’s on my phone and uh, you know, I’m hitting the wrong buttons and I’m like, oh, I hate this. So, The computer apps are useful for that, so I can just churn through messages faster. But anyway, that’s something that I’ve always put time into from the beginning.
I mean, there was a time when I was spending probably five hours a day on average, answering emails. I think that was before Instagram dms might have been in there. But if they were, I didn’t have many followers at that time. I don’t have that many now, but I would get a lot of emails and it’s one of those things that doesn’t scale and therefore, Is, I think, very valuable in that many other people don’t want to do it because there is no real way to get around it unless you’re gonna pay people to do it for you, basically.
And even then, if you don’t pay somebody who’s good and who knows what they’re doing and shares good information, you’re gonna ruin your own reputation. So that’s not really a viable option unless you have that person. I’m neurotic
Adam: with that. People are like, oh, is it, am I talking to Adam or is this his team?
Like there’s no team. It’s me. And no, I’m not giving it. No one’s accessing my account. No one’s. You’re not talking to anyone through my account. Trust me, it’s me, , .
Mike: So yeah, no, good on you for doing that. And it’s also just, I wish that, again, when I first got into weightlifting, I could have just come across someone like you.
There was Instagram and. be able to DM you and not be obnoxious and not kind of impose and, and try to waste a bunch of your time. But, you know, do my best to educate myself and learn what it is that you’re teaching. But also if I do come across questions, which, I mean, I’m sure you had many questions in the beginning.
I know I had many questions. It would’ve been nice to be able to just shoot a quick, like, hey, 1, 2, 3. I have tried to find good answers to these things. I’m not just being lazy. I, I just, you know, I, I’m having trouble sorting it out. And then for you, you know, I’m sure you have a lot of canned responses and stuff already set up cuz you get a lot of the same types of questions.
So that’s great that you do that.
Adam: I wish I had myself when I was first starting out. It would’ve save me a lot of time.
Mike: Totally. All right man. Well thanks again for doing this. I really appreciate it.
Adam: No, thanks for having me. I enjoyed it. It was, All right.
Mike: Well, that’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful.And if you did, and you don’t mind
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